Prior to Thursday’s game against the Hornets, Kevin Durant spoke to the media for the first time since suffering his left hamstring strain. Durant is doubtful to play against the Chicago Bulls Sunday or the Knicks Monday, according to Steve Nash but he laid out how he feels and detailed what he’s been doing during his time away, saying he focused his injury rehab and “sharpening” his skills.
“I feel great. I feel like it’ll be soon that I’ll be out there with my teammates. The last month or so, it’s been me working out every day,” Durant said. “Playing with my teammates but mainly working out, stay ready, keeping my stamina up and sharpening up my skills so I can be able to transition back smoothly.
“It’s been too long for me and hopefully be back out there soon.”
Durant says he has been running up and down the floor in four-on-four action, which he believes simulates as best as a five-on-five as he ramps up. He will continue to follow the same routine moving forward in his final steps before returning.
“It was more so about running up and down the floor as opposed to having five guys out there. Four-on-four simulates the same type of thing. It was good to get some of that stuff in. Transitioning from offense to defense. Stuff I haven’t done in a couple of weeks so, it’s good to get a few of those sessions in before I want to jump into an NBA game. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few days and going forward.”
When Durant initially got hurt, the Nets did not deem the injury a long-term thing until the second scan showed the need for further evaluation. Durant doesn’t feel a lot of pain and noted he felt like he could play but he and the Nets don’t want to risk aggravating the injury more, resulting in extra time away.
“I didn’t initially think it was that bad. Just a regular strain and I thought it was Grade 1. It felt like that. We get a second scan and they said it was a little deeper than that. It was one of those things where I’m not feeling a ton of pain but you don’t want to force one of these injuries and go out there and make it worse.
“In my mind, I could play but then it’s also being smart and cautious with this type of injury. I just try to be patient with it all. Rehab as hard as I can. I’ve been through this situation before so I just try to take myself back to that place.”
Earlier, the Nets have officially ruled James Harden (right hamstring tightness) out of Thursday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. Harden suffered the “hammie” late in the third quarter in Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets, leaving the game with 4:48 left in the quarter. Following the win, Steve Nash noted how the injury is not deemed long-term but that the Nets would evaluate him Thursday morning.
Early Thursday, Nash said Harden is day-to-day after a “clean” scan Thursday and we’ll be back in action within the next few games.
“He’s feeling pretty good. He had a scan and it was clear so he’s day-to-day,” Nash said. “We’re excited it wasn’t worse and it was a wise decision by him to be precautious, come out of the game and make sure we’re on the right side of this. Big sigh of relief and day-to-day means we’ll see him probably in the next few games for sure.”
Before Nash provided the update on Harden, Shams Charania, reporting before the medical update, said he’s been told, “James Harden is fine. He’s day to day,” but added hamstrings are “tricky injuries.”
"Sources tell me Kevin Durant is closing in on a return to the floor."— Stadium (@Stadium) April 1, 2021
Our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania has the latest on Durant, plus an update on James Harden's hamstring injury. pic.twitter.com/vwLoeKZepr
“Considering the Nets and how they operate, they will make sure that he is 100 percent fully healthy, that his ramp-up is done the right way before he returns from any hamstring issue, but again, it’s not believed to be a major injury.”
Blake Griffin will also not be available for the Nets Thursday night as he will rest (left knee- injury management). Griffin logged 22 minutes against the Rockets and playing in the last three games. That Griffin is missing the second half of a back-to-back is no surprise, of course.
The injury report also makes it appear that LaMarcus Aldridge will make his Nets debut Thursday night. Aldridge, who officially signed with Brooklyn on Monday, did not play against the Timberwolves Monday or the Rockets Wednesday as he was “ramping up,” as Nash put it. Thursday night would mark Aldridge’s first NBA game since March 1 and will likely have a minutes restriction. Nash has talked about him at the 5.
Landry Shamet is also off the Nets injury report indicating he, too, is available for the Nets tonight. Shamet missed the last five games with a right ankle sprain and could see a minutes limit in his return.
- LaMarcus Aldridge set to make Brooklyn Nets debut; James Harden out after Wednesday’s early exit - Malika Andrews - ESPN